A dissociation in attentional control: Evidence from methamphetamine dependence

Ruth Salo, Thomas E Nordahl, Charles Moore, Christy Waters, Yutaka Natsuaki, Gantt P. Galloway, Shawn Kile, Edith V. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Selective attention comprises multiple, dissociable component processes, including task shifting and selective inhibition. The goal of this study was to test whether task-shifting, selective inhibition, or both processes were impaired in long-term but currently abstinent methamphetamine-dependent individuals. Participants were 34 methamphetamine-dependent subjects and 20 nonsubstance abusing controls who were tested on an alternating-runs switch task with conflict sequences that required subjects to switch tasks on every second trial (AABBAABB). Methamphetamine-dependent individuals committed more errors on trials that required inhibition of distracting information compared with controls (methamphetamine = 17%; controls = 13%; p =. 02). By contrast, error rates did not differ between the groups on switch trials (methamphetamine = 7%; controls = 6%; p =. 68). These results indicate that selective inhibition, but not task switching, is selectively compromised by methamphetamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-313
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • cognition
  • frontostriatal
  • Methamphetamine
  • selective attention
  • stimulant abuse
  • task switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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